Saturday, 22 January 2011

High Confidence and the Leaks - Joan Lennon



I've been thinking about confidence, and have come to the conclusion that that may be a mistake. My moments of high confidence - during a talk that's going really well, for example, or those times when the words flow like blue silk - don't seem to have any connection to cogitation, anticipation or memory. When I'm in them, I'm in them, full stop. Usually, that's fine, because I'm far too busy doing what I doing to be thinking about doing it. So to speak.

The times when confidence leaks away, however, seem to have plenty of room in them for thinking, fussing about the future and dredging up the past. A recent story rejection is a case in point. The moment the email arrived I became like a confidence colander. Belief in myself leaked out the bottom as memories of past rejections, fear - nay, certainty - of future rejections, and thoughts of the horribly parlous state of my chosen line of work flooded in at the top. All time - past and future, real and imagined, eminently possible and really very unlikely - swamping the rapidly shrivelling vegetables of the soul. Not a pretty sight.

I ought to come to some sort of conclusion at this point but I can't, beyond applauding the kitten above and staying away from kitchen duties. But if you have any insights on the question of confidence or the lack thereof, please share them.

Cheers, Joan.

P.S. Don't you think "High Confidence and the Leaks" would be a great name for a rock band?

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6 comments:

Anne Cassidy said...

Writers are so wound up with their work. A rejection is like a rejection of them, lock stock and barrel. If we could think of the work as a separate entity and not some extention of ourselves then rejection would be easier. A carpenter may make a beautiful wooden table. If a buyer doesn't want to buy it they do not start soul searching. The piece didn't suit that buyer, that's all. We writers need to see our work as a product (however lovingly produced) and not take to heart rejection. Did you ever have work accepted by a publisher? Then it will happen again.

Martin H. said...

I think Anne is absolutely right. Though the problem is an age old one for writers. The words on the page are pieces of us, our own language, shaped by emotion and imagination. Rejection of what editors see as a product, is often perceived, by the author, as a personal rejection.

I had an experience yesterday, not totally unrelated.

catdownunder said...

Yes,when my words are rejected part of me is rejected. But it is more than that. It is not just being told "not this time" but also being told "you are not worthy".
I suppose that is why it is easier to be my alter-ego and say, "Miaou, I sympurrthise."

Lynda Waterhouse said...

Brilliant post. I would join an indie band called Vegetables of the Soul.

Leila said...

I know how this feels - so hard to keep confidence and not lose it all as soon as you get a rejection. But what Anne said - you managed it once, you can do so again.

Meg Harper said...

I like what Eleanor Roosevelt said - something like 'No one can insult you without your permission.' It is only someone else's opinion. You know yourself whether you've produced something worthwhile or not. And if you know, then you know - and it doesn't matter what anyone else says! Having said that, I keep many irons in the fire - different lines of work. If one is not looking hot and glowing and warming to my soul, then usually another one can provide a bit of radiance. Usually!